Academy News

End of Term Information

I am writing to confirm the arrangements for the last week of term. Friday 18th December is the last day of term and students will finish at 12.15pm (Years 7 and 8) and 12.20pm (Years 9-11). The school bus will leave at 12.30pm. There will be an early break/lunch so students can have something to eat before they leave for the day. There will also be no lesson 6 for Year 11 students on this day. Reception will close at 3pm.

On the last day of term students will be able to wear mufti for a donation of £1. There will be extra house points for those who wear the best Christmas jumpers. Please make sure that your child is wearing clothes that are suitable for a school environment, eg no crop tops or pyjamas.

Although sadly we are unable to hold many of our traditional Christmas events at the Academy such as the school show and carol service, we will be doing lots of activities to make it as cheerful as we can for students. The annual AET Christmas card competition has been launched and I think we have a good chance with this year’s entry. We are also doing our Christmas bauble tutor competition and look forward to seeing what the students create for the tree which is displayed in reception. The Student Council have organised a food collection for Aspire Ryde which is also a House competition. If you are able to donate any in date non perishable items you can leave these in the House colour boxes which are under the tree.

Start of Term

Please note that the Academy will be closed from Friday 18th December (this includes reception) and will reopen on Monday 4th January 2021 to all students at the normal time.

Exams and Mock Exams

6th Form students will be sitting external exams in vocational subjects in January and Year 13 mock exams between Monday 11th January and Friday 22nd January 2021. Further information will follow.

I would like to wish you a wonderful Christmas, and a happy New Year. Stay safe, have as good a time as you possibly can and we look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021

Joy Ballard, Principal

Remembrance Day

The Student Council organised this year's service which was attended by Year 7 Student Council members and the 4 senior Prefects. The event was filmed so students in the whole school could watch and take part later in the day in their classrooms.

Council Chairs, India Dale (15) and Benson Hardy (14) raised the flag and Harry Sheppard played 'The Last Post' after the minute's silence. Head of History, Mrs Dorman also read out a poem.

High Sheriff Awards 2020

As with lots of events this year, the Isle of Wight High Sheriff Award ceremony in March was cancelled due to Covid. Students however were still able to receive their awards which were chosen by Geoff Underwood who was the High Sheriff at the time of the initiative.

The High Sheriff Award celebrates the achievements of young people.

Lewey Way, age 12, and India Dale, age 15, were presented with their awards by Joy Ballard.

India, age 15, is a truly remarkable young person. Not only is she kind and an inspirational role model to younger students, taking time to listen to them and help, she is also a proactive and compassionate campaigner. She is a member of the Student Council, the Youth Council and does lots of work within the community, recently winning a certificate of achievement for her work on raising awareness of the dangers of alcohol misuse.

India is a passionate advocate for young people and has a particular interest in mental health issues.

As well as the Student and Youth Council, India also helped set up the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in school and attended the Isle of Wight Safeguarding Conference to collect an award the Ambassadors had won. She addressed the large audience of professionals about the effects of bullying.

What makes all of this remarkable is the fact that India suffers from anxiety herself but still pushes herself to participate in things which will make a difference to her peers. Although her anxiety does affect her she doesn’t let it hold her back and she works hard to overcome issues so she can continue campaigning and working to make the community a better place for everyone.

Although busy, she is a diligent student and finds time to participate in dance events, report the news on Isle of Wight radio and help with activities organised by Network Ryde, the youth cafe in town.

Joy Ballard said ‘India is incredibly special to us at the Academy and she makes us proud all the time’.

Lewey Way, age 12, found the transition from primary school to secondary school difficult. There was only one other student who moved up with him from his primary school which can sometimes make the transition to high school more of a worry for some students. However, Lewey’s kindness and positivity has meant he quickly made friends. Although he gets anxious about change and the unknown, he does his best to tackle them head on so it doesn’t hold him back.

He also has a number of health and other issues but he doesn’t let them stop him from becoming an active and important member of the Academy and Island community.

Lewey has dealt with so much in his life including lots of hospital appointments and physiotherapy but he never lets it get him down.

Prior to Covid Lewey spent lots of time with his grandparents helping to look after his grandma who has cancer. He also spent his time in the holidays at the John Cheverton center at the hospice talking to patients and playing bingo with them.

He is a representative on the Student Council, took part in the school production last year and also belongs to a dance school outside of the Academy. If that wasn’t enough Lewey is a member of the Isle of Wight Scouts and enjoys helping with the Beavers. During lockdown he helped make the school lunches for the students of key workers who were in school.

He is a very kind and thoughtful young man who loves to help in any way he can. He is always looking out for his friends who need a little extra help despite his own issues. He also celebrates their achievements with a genuine sense of pride.

Joy Ballard said ‘Lewey’s enthusiasm, tenacity and desire to help is admirable in someone so young and is something we can all aspire to’.

A Level Results

Sixth formers are today celebrating their Key Stage 5 results, having faced months of online learning during a period that they never could have imagined would see their last year at sixth form curtailed and their exams cancelled.

Staff and teachers at the Academy have worked extremely hard to make sure that the grading for every student is fair and allows these students to go onto university, an apprenticeship or employment.

70% of students secured A* - C in an A Level qualification. 43% of grades were A* - B.

'We are so proud of our students who have continued their studies and making plans for their futures during these difficult and uncertain times. We wish them all the best’.

Southern Dance Awards

Well done to all the students who took part in the Southern Dance Class Awards. Southern Dance is an annual 1 day event that aims to create a friendly dance environment in which young performers can showcase their core technique and talents. This year it took place virtually.

The students competed in the contemporary, Jazz, lyrical and commercial heats. All of the students qualified for one of the category finals and Ben Thompson came first in both the Jazz and commercial dances.

It was an extremely challenging competition. Many of the competitors represent Team England in the Dance World Cup or belong to prestigious associates programmes including the Royal Ballet and Central School of Ballet so the students did remarkably well.

Mrs Seaton said: ‘We were astounded by the phenomenal talent showcased by some of the competitors, some of whom have represented England at the Dance World Cup in Portugal. I was delighted with the results from our students who performed like professionals and did the Academy proud’.

VE Day 75th Anniversary

Students have not let lockdown stop them honouring the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Although the Student Council organised tea party for the community has been postponed until later in the year, students have been doing a range of work and activities to commemorate the day.

The History Department set special tasks last week based on the anniversary. Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 were given home learning on the original VE Day and what it meant for society plus they were set extra challenges to complete based on the 1940s. Mrs Dorman, Head of History, and the History team have been delighted to receive lots of family memories from students who interviewed relatives who remembered the end of the second World War.

Matthew Tam, age 13, was one the many students who created poems.

As well as baking and poetry a group of students also decided to write a letter of gratitude to residents of St Vincent's Care Home in Ryde.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Since the start of this year, the Student Council at Ryde Academy have been organising and preparing for a VE day themed afternoon tea for our grandparents, and others in the community. It was with great sadness that we had to postpone the event due to recent happenings. So we have decided to write a letter of gratitude to everyone who played a role in World War Two to make sure that their victory is remembered and commemorated in the way that it deserves to be.

WAR… this word of only three letters and one single syllable, has the ability to send a cold shiver down the spine, of any man or woman, boy or girl. With the memory of the second world war still vivid in the minds of our greatest generation on the 8th of may we come together, in solidarity to remember the atrocities of the second world war, but also to remember the contrasting event that signalled the end of a six year bloodbath, to which so many men and women were lost… VE day.

It is hard for the younger generations of this country to imagine being at war with such a formidable enemy, and having to sacrifice their livelihood and in many cases their lives to serve King and country, and to try and restore freedom. However it is events like this that help us to connect with the heroes and heroines of this country past and present. For every young person that is ignorant to accept that they should be appreciative of the: soldiers, seamen, pilots, nurses, politicians, ARP wardens, factory workers and people from every other sector of society who had a large or small impact on the outcome of the second world war, there are thousands more young people who see you in the way that you should be seen… as heroes.

This week has been a very important one as it was… the 75th anniversary of VE day (the end of fighting in Europe) despite the 8th of May not being the end of the war completely for Britain the countries pre-war peace was starting to appear again, thanks to many brave people who were loyal to King and country and therefore gave everything they could to their nation and to the freedom that they were laboriously fighting for. The Isle of Wight, despite being a relatively small island, played some very key roles in the second world war. Cowes was used and relied on quite heavily for its world class shipbuilding and like so many places in Britain, it was bombed. On the 4th of May 1942 Cowes was bombed by the Nazi Luftwaffe damaging houses and some of the shipbuilding facilities. It was due to the geographical situation of the Isle of Wight that the Island along with the rest of the south coast would have been invaded first if the Nazi High Command had followed through with their plan to launch an attack of the same nature as Operation Overlord (D-day), and this meant that places such as the Isle of Wight were fortified. The battery at Alum Bay was influential in the war and, on the highest part of the Island (st. Boniface down) they boasted radar masts and an underground bunker; these were just a part of the complex measures to try and protect the rest of Britain. During the war the radar station there was bombed twice however it didn’t take long at all for the masts to be up and running again. Sadly the consequence of the Luftwaffe's bombing campaign on the Isle of Wight was the death of seventy people. Many more from the Island died whilst fighting for their country.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude for you putting your lives at risk for the welfare of our country. The sacrifices that you made to protect the lives of our nation will never be forgotten and the victories that we have shared as a country are immense. We would like to say thank you. Thank you for your sacrifices and your bravery. We will never forget. We will never be ungrateful. Thank you, our country would not have survived without your devotion...

Lest we forget.

Best wishes,

Evie Thomas (year 7) , Lewey Way (year 7) , Sasha Ringer (year 8) , Chloe Caller (year 8), Benson Hardy (year 9) and everyone at Ryde Academy.

Anti-Bullying Poster Competition Winners

Some of our students entered an anti-bullying poster competition organised by Network Ryde. Barney (Year 8) was the overall winner and was awarded first prize but the Mayor of Ryde. Victoria (Year 10) came second and Rosie J (Year 9) came third.

Lego League Tournament

Essential Teaching UK hosted an IET FIRST® LEGO® League Tournament on 21 January 20. The tournaments are the culmination of weeks of preparation, where students have worked in teams to design, build and programme a robot, and create an innovative solution to a real-world problem.

73 IET FIRST® LEGO® League tournaments are taking place across the UK and Ireland. These are fun and exciting events where teams of young people compete to put their robot through its paces, and communicate their ideas, sharing what they have learnt with judges.

Local School and Groups were up for the challenge and have been working hard developing their entries for the competition on the Isle of Wight at Ryde Academy. Those that enter were; UTC Portsmouth, Portchester Community School, Cowes Enterprise College, Christ the King School, Ditcham Park School, Thornden School, Priory School (IOW), Ryde Academy, Isle of Wight Free School, Medina College and New Milton Home Ed Group.

In the 2019-20 FIRST® LEGO® League CITY SHAPER℠ Challenge, teams aged 9 to 16 learn all about architecture and the spaces we live in. They demonstrated their skills in robotics, computer programming, research, and communication, as well as needing to demonstrate the FIRST® LEGO® League Core Values, which include teamwork, problem-solving and friendly competition.

Lowri Walton, FIRST® LEGO® League IET Education Manager, said: “Teams who take part in FIRST®LEGO® League this year will experience engineering in action. The programme makes STEM subjects fun and accessible as the young people get hands-on experience with robotics and designing innovative solutions. The teams develop computer programming, teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills in an incredibly exciting environment.

“It’s a fact that the need for engineers has never been greater. The IET supports FIRST® LEGO® League because it equips young people with the skills that they need to become future innovators and engineers. FIRST® LEGO® League is the world’s largest STEM competition with 40,000 teams in more than 100 countries and the IET is proud to be the operational partners for the programme in the UK and Ireland.”

Gavin Lumsden, Essential Teaching UK CEO, said: "We set up these local competitions to ensure that these children get access to some life enriching STEM experiences that they otherwise would not have, in the hope that these experiences will increase their aspirations for a successful future".

"We hope this event will benefit the school communities by raising awareness of STEM subjects and boosting uptake on these subjects by both girls and boys who will then enter these industries. It also provides an outstanding educational opportunity and greatly enriches the current curriculum."

The IOW Regional Champions were:

Overall Winner - Portchester Community School

Robot Performance - Cowes Enterprise College

Judges Award - Ryde Academy

Core Values - UTC Portsmouth

Innovation Award - Priory School (IOW)

Robot Design - Christ the King School

Well Done to all Teams who entered. FIRST® LEGO® League is part of a wider IET education programme, made up of a whole host of teaching resources and activities to inspire and attract the engineers of tomorrow.

For more information about this year’s FIRST® LEGO®League competition, please visit

Robotics Project

In December, 12 Ryde Academy students participated in a Robotics project hosted by Johnson Electric, a global electronics engineering company. They specialise in a number of different applications, of particular interest is their work with major automotive companies on different circuits.

Dominic Ward, Operations and Project Engineering Director for Johnson Electric brought along 2 engineers with him to work with Mr John Nicholson (STEM Lead and teacher of Computer Science) and Mr Jon Dallimore (Design Technology Teacher). One of the engineers was a former student at the Academy.

Students were given hands on experience building their own Raspberry Pi controlled robot, linked to a system of motors and cameras. The robots were sophisticated enough to be linked via WiFi to a mobile phone and controlled using the touch screen.

At the end students competed to see which of them could navigate their team’s robot most effectively around a designated course.

Students learnt valuable engineering skills such as how to wire up motors and batteries in the correct order along with understanding the different materials used.

It was a great opportunity for them to work with industry experts and gain an insight to possible engineering careers on and off the Island.

Community Tea Party - Friday 13th December

On Friday the 13th December, the Student Council organised an event for their grandparents and local older residents. The idea was to bring together people from different generations and also to provide some company and Christmas cheer.

The students created invitations, baked and made a cream tea, organised a raffle and arranged for performing arts students to provide entertainment. Our Dance Team performed a piece, students performing in High School Musical, the Academy’s Christmas show, sang and there were duets and solo performers too.

As well as putting on afternoon tea, the Council also organised a raffle. Prizes included sherry, luxury biscuits and a voucher kindly donated by Barrow Boys in Ryde.

Everyone had a really good time and we look forward to doing another one.

Freya Cowell (age 13) said ‘We organised an afternoon for older people because we know how hard this time of year can be for some of them and wouldn’t want anyone feeling lonely. I think it was a really nice afternoon because we got to socialise with them and put some performances on’.

‘We had an amazing time and really loved it. Thank you so much to the students for organising it’. Aspire Ryde.

Mr and Mrs Hardy, who attended said, ‘We thought it was very well done and very well organised. We also thought it has the capacity to grow and we all enjoyed it’.

Isle of Wight Faraday Challenge

On Thursday 5th December a group of students, Emma Perkis, Ella Vodden, Cameron Colleypriest, Draven Scovell, Chloe Leigh Caller and Charlie in Year 8, took part in the Isle of Wight Faraday Challenge hosted by Christ The King School. There were 4 teams present from Ryde Academy, Christ The King and Ryde School.

The national competition was organised by The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Isle of Wight students challenged by Airbus to come up with a device that could be used during a weather disaster such as a forest fire, flood or tornado.

The teams were given as little guidance as possible to ensure it was their own solution. They were provided with a limited amount of currency, known as ‘Faradays’ which they could then use in the ‘shop’ to buy equipment for their project. They could buy things like motors, sensors and building materials. Students were given a limited budget and time to shop so they had to plan their design and spending in advance to ensure they were awarded the best number of points for their documentation, teamwork, presentation and design.

Team one from Christ The King designed a chair that used a servo motor to convert into a stretcher style bed, this was also on wheels and had a motor control so that it can easily be moved. Team two designed a vehicle that could carry fresh water in a disaster situation and had a sensor to let users know when the container was full. Ryde School’s team created a safe house that was buried in the ground and had lighting and heating during times of emergency, this could be deployed in advance of a potential weather threat.

The Ryde Academy team came up with a prototype for a floating platform that could be deployed in a flood. The platform would be dropped from an Airbus vehicle and parachute onto water. On landing the sensor detects water and activates alarms and lights to let people know where it is. The device has a bridge which can be deployed and is filled with supplies to help in an emergency situation. The students produced a well thought out plan, a working model and then presented their findings to the other teams. Their their work earned them the winning vote and they were praised highly on their project. All the teams displayed impressive skills as future project managers, designers and engineers and should be commended for the work they produced.

NASA Astro Pi Competition

A group of students have made it through to the next round of the NASA Astro Pi competition. Astro Pi is a series of competitions which allow European school students to run computer science experiments on the International Space Station.

Draven Scovell (12), Cameron Colleypriest (13), Lewis Parkinson (13), Ella Vodden (12) and Emma Perkis (12) have come up with the idea of using small computers to measure magnetic readings from the International Space Station, in order to predict the best orbit of Earth.

NASA and The Raspberry Pi Foundation thought the idea was so strong that they are now through to compete against other schools. On completion of the design their idea could end up going into space and the experiments carried out on the International Space Station.